Before I get to the rest of the cast, I have to thank the unbelievably kind hospitality and amazing location Jared Christopherson provided for “Choke.”
His penthouse apartment overlooking NYU area, with an extensive massive “L” shaped rooftop terrace was perfect for the Red Carpet Event scene.
The balcony perspective was absolutely sensational, but even better was how open Jared was to allow us to free reign to shoot the scene the way Edwin M. Figueroa wanted it. I’m sure I speak for the rest of the cast & crew that we will be forever grateful to him for this day and I can honestly say we could not have had a better place to begin the movie.
On top of that, Jared played role in the scene as the “Producer’s Assistant” and he had the crucial function of trying to protect the Producer from seeing something that was going to really upset him.
Next I have to talk about the contribution Designer/Wardrobe Stylist Janine Giorgenti gave making George Brianka, James Balsamo and I look our absolute best. Janine not only provided the thousand dollar suits we each wore, but she personally came to the shoot to make sure the clothes fit us best and pinned us by hand, when she needed to.
It meant a lot to me that someone as talented and successful as Janine was willing to help our little production. It says so much about her kind and generous heart. The world needs more people like Janine and I’m honored she was willing to help us look so good.
Janine was assistant by Fashion Stylist Alexandro Jomar Ramirez, and we can’t thank them enough for the expertise and the incredible clothing they dressed us in.
If you live or do business on Long Island or New York City and are in need of any kind of men’s fine clothing, there is no one better than Janine Giorgenti.
Richard Kern was back to make a cameo as one of the “Cloaked Figures” from “Stash.” Edwin thought this was a good idea since “Stash” will follow “Choke” in the order of movies shown in DEVIL’S FIVE.
Rick also came through with helping provide some of the dinner as he spearhead obtaining a tray of Baked Ziti from Dan Romano @ Frankies East Side Gourmet Italian Restaurant (located 313 Main Street Farmingdale NY 516-756-2753) which was gobbled up faster than you can blink an eye.
The other “Cloaked Figure” from “Stash“ was young Jesse Ray Sheps. It’s always great to work with the little guy who projects maturity way beyond his years. Having worked with Jesse four times now (“Stash“, XXistence Teaser Trailer, “The Devil’s Five” and “Choke“), seeing him and his amazing parents Robert & Marci almost feels like family to me.
“Choke” also afforded Jesse the opportunity to show off his musical skills on guitar and the ladies enjoyed his performing no doubt.
Last but certainly not least were our two Paparazzi photographers Kato Peragine and his son Christian Peragine. I go all the way back to 1994, when I directed a Music Video for Guitarist Michael Knight called “The Phoenix“, which Kato was the drummer in that band. Christian by the way has picked up the sticks and is really developed into drummer himself.
Kato and I struck up a friendship then and have worked together on all sorts of things since. For example, back in the late 90s, when I couldn’t attended a Joe Satriani concert in NYC as a journalist/photographer I called Kato and he went to the show instead and covered the show with some amazing photographs.
Kato auditioned for the role of “Johnny Garrett” in Evil Streets back in 1996 and served as the Gaffer on the fundraising Trailer I made for Anomaly.
Besides being an occasional actor and Drummer, Kato is also a very experienced Electrician and actually provided all the electrical work in my house right after we bought it. Kato and his son (s) rewired/reinstalled every single outlet plug and light switch in the entire house.
Kato is also an accomplished and decorated Martial Arts Instructor and in mid-2015 I directed an Infomercial for the Super Punch and Kick Target product Kato and his business partner created.
Having Kato and Christian in “Choke” was fantastic for me because with their talent behind the lens and our long history, it just made the whole experience that much more meaningful. Their outstanding pictures in this and the previous blog can certainly attest to that.
Producer Terry Wickham is pleased to announce that he has cast 11-year actor Jesse Ray Sheps in Edwin M. Figueroa’s “Choke.” Wickham & Figueroa have already worked with the young dynamic actor 3 times before when the youngster played “Devin” in “Stash” and “The Devil’s Five” segments and the younger version of the lead character in “XXistence” Teaser Trailer.
Wickham says, “The first time I worked with Jesse it was an extremely difficult situation for him, as he was driven from his summer camp in Pennsylvania back to Long Island, given the script to learn along the way and shoot that night. That fact that he came in so ready and prepared, truthfully floored me. I know the other actors working with him were very impressed with his professionalism. Keep in mind he was 8-years old at that time.
It was a no-brainer for me to help influence Writer/Producer Emilio Rosa to cast Jesse as younger version of his character in the Teaser Trailer for XXistence. This was a somewhat challenging role for the young thespian because there was no dialogue but he delivered the character’s story through body language and expression.
Then we got to work together in “The Devil’s Five” segment because I wanted characters from the segments to cross over into the all-important wraparound. I think Jesse had fun out in Riverhead acting amongst the actors playing police officers, a drunk, a pimp & his ladies, not to forget a woman possessed with the Devil.
Jesse’s involvement in “Choke” will again be another way of integrating this episode in Devil’s Five feature film. We plan to showcase his talent as a young guitar player trying support a particular church in need.”
At the age of 10, Jesse Ray Sheps has already distinguished himself in both the acting and modeling world.
Jesse Ray has been working hard on his second season of Nickelodeon’s hit television show Zack and Quack playing the role of series regular Fluffy. Jesse has completed filming several movies including “Collateral Beauty” with Kate Winslet and “Hard Sell” with Kristen Chenoweth. Jesse has also been selected to play the lead role of young David Gutterrez in the upcoming movie Such a Funny Life. Jesse Ray’s work has also been featured on the Disney Channel and the Amazon Network.
Jesse has filmed many commercials and worked on many nationwide modeling campaigns for companies such as AT&T, H&M, Mott’s Apple Sauce, Humira, Nickelodeon, NBC, Sherwin Williams, Toys R Us, Family Dollar, and AMF Bowling.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Jesse Ray’s website so you can learn more about him.